Social commerce software developer and service provider 8thBridge has released its rather excellent and latest industry report, the Second Annual Social Commerce IQ Study, with a ranking of the top 25 retail brands in social commerce.

Fab.com wins, scoring high on four key social commerce criteria – brand awareness on social networks, upstream social media traffic, social features on e-commerce site, and SCRM potential via social apps such as social login. It’s no surprise that Fab.com is a business that runs shopping events. Social commerce works when you run events worth talking about (you generate word of mouth and drive customer loyalty)

The full report includes a useful article on social commerce strategy penned by social commerce’s enfant terrible, Forrester’s Sucharita Mulpuru, who is more bullish about social commerce when it’s about more than simply adding e-commerce apps to social media sites.

According to Sucharita, the real way to monetize social media is

  1. Support branding and awareness using social sites as a “top of the funnel” marketing tool to drive brand awareness and discovery as well as a way to engage with your best, most loyal customers.
  2. Harness the network effect using social sign-in is an easy way to engage shoppers in sharing products they like, own, want or have purchased.
  3. Learn from social data using the copious amount of demographic, behavioral, and brand data social media sites capture about their users.
  4. Deliver post-purchase support using social channels for customer support.

Not a lot of commerce there, but we’re in broad agreement that reducing social commerce to e-commerce in social channels is to miss the point of social commerce; which in our opinion is all about running shopping events with social media, not just in social media. As we note in our recently published The Social Commerce Handbook, success in social commerce is often more about self-financing event marketing.

One interesting piece of data that supports the emerging view that social sites make lousy traffic generators for e-commerce sites is that e-commerce traffic coming directly from social sites remains negligible (Facebook 2.46%, Pinterest 0.11% and Twitter 0.06%).

Here’s the link to the full report, and here’s the infographic.

2012-SCIQ-Infographic